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  1. #1
    Gear Hub fan
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    Why Are Bicyclists Unpopular?

    I am a member of a large non cycling web group and in their open forum area there have been discussions of bicycling and bicyclists. I have been surprised by the number of motor vehicle drivers who do NOT like us, some vehemently so.

    The big complaint seems to be the number of bicyclists who routinely ignore traffic laws.

    In Nevada the basic bicycle traffic rule is as follows:

    NRS 484.503 Traffic laws apply to person riding bicycle.

    Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle except as otherwise provided in NRS 484.504 to 484.513, inclusive, and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.


    There are other provisions covering lighting for night use etc. but basically a bicycle is supposed to obey the same traffic rules as any motor vehicle. Many bicyclists do not. I routinely see fellow bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road, on sidewalks, against traffic on one way streets, running red lights and other violations of traffic laws. Many are adults who should be aware of the rules they are supposed to follow.

    Are some bicyclists our own worst enemies as far as making motor vehicle drivers dislike us? I believe that this may well be the case.

  2. #2
    Large Member urodacus's Avatar
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    because they smell.
    05 Giant TCR Composite; 83 Colnago Saronni: 81 San Rensho Katana Super Export track bike, #A116-56; 89 Zunow Pentaglia: SOLD; 85 Tommasini: SOLD; 83 Guerciotti: SOLD

  3. #3
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    I routinely see motorists breaking traffic laws...do the people on the "non-cycling web group" ever say they hate motorists/motor vehicles because of the drivers that break laws and "give them all a bad name"? There's something about the "gives us all a bad name" argument that doesn't follow. Maybe minorities (like cyclists) are treated differently?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Steve_Reno's Avatar
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    It's just that most people in nevada are a bunch a hicks, they can't even imagine that we also have cars and pay road taxes just like the rest of the cow tippers
    If you make a car slow down even for a second watch out
    Actually though, I think the majority of people here do get it. I have had a few things happen but for every bad experience with a car there are a 100 good ones.
    Don't take it personally and maybe you are setting yourself up???

  5. #5
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    People in cars hate anything that might hold them up ........
    "Roads are for cars and people who pay taxes"
    "If you had a real job you wouldnt have time to ride"

  6. #6
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Because the of typical AnS victim mentality.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    It's bigger than A&S, Dobber - you need to remodel your conceptual framework! Proponents of social identity theory love us cyclists; we're an outgroup...

  8. #8
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    If I wanted to be popular I'd drive a hummer.

  9. #9
    What is this demonry?! Szczuldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spock View Post
    If I wanted to be popular I'd drive a hummer.
    wouldn't motorists give you crap for driving such a huge vehicle and not being able to see around you then hit that pedestrian that you moved out of the way to see?

  10. #10
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    To paraphrase a Smashing Pumpkins' song, "Despite all their rage, they're still just rats in a cage". I think driver's attitudes have more to do with it than us being bicyclists. Ever see a driver go ballistic when s/he gets stuck behind another motorist who just happens to be going 5mpn slower on a two-lane road? Strong argument for *** control (but that's a whole other kettle of fish ). Maybe it has something to do with CFCs in automotive A/C units; or perhaps it's all the electronics melting their brains until they devolve into Neanderthals. Maybe they feel constrained, imprisoned in their shiny, metal coffins on wheels and a 400cu.in. V-8 engine with supercharged BS straight from the auto plants. I guess there are some mysteries in the universe that we will never know the answers to.
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    You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead -- just play with this -- if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world -- and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded -- we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever in peace. Thank you very much -- Bill Hicks

  11. #11
    Randomhead
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    I understand it pretty well considering how much my fellow motorists annoy me. Cyclists are different, therefore motorists remember they were annoyed by us.

    A couple of months back, I was traveling, and I still remember the cyclist in full racing gear riding slowly on an incredibly busy road. I was surprised that this guy was there, and had a little trouble getting around him. Now since then, I estimate 50 motorists have done something stupid that was more likely to cause an accident with me while I was driving my car. I would have to work to remember any of those people.

  12. #12
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    Selfishness plays a huge part in why drivers hate cyclists, since in the mind of drivers, the cyclists are slowing drivers down and using "their" roads, but most drivers would never go into conniptions against slow moving car drivers like they do against cyclists. Something else is going on and I think much of it is the very primal emotion of fear, many drivers are deathly afraid (rightly or wrongly, you can't debate whether they should be afraid, fear either exists or it doesn't) that they will hit someone on a bike and hurt or kill them.

    When someone is afraid, then usually one of two reactions to fear take over, fight or flight. Those that yell at us are experiencing the fight reaction to fear, they are fighting with us because down deep, they are afraid they may hurt us. And of course when you are fighting, all reason and logic goes out the window and drivers resort to threats, insults, assaults, etc.

    Its really the same reaction that many here on this forum have to dog "attacks". Many cyclists are afraid of dogs, again rightly or wrongly doesn't matter, that a dog running at them wants to hurt them. Fear brings out the fight reaction in the cyclists so thats why you read of so many people that want to do irrational things like shoot dogs with guns and permanently blind them with caustic chemicals, even though most dogs are just playing when they chase cyclists.

    The same way cyclists lash out at dogs they are afraid of, motorists lash out at cyclists they are afraid of.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  13. #13
    Senior Member hurricane harry's Avatar
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    They are jealous because we are free.

  14. #14
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    The same with anything. People who don't conform are targets. Seeing how cycling is perceived as a recreational activity and not real transport and that bikes are seen as toys and NOT vehicles they are obviously been ridden by people too poor to own a car (which after all is the mark of citizenship in North America) so who cares? or operated by fancy pants know it alls wearing spandex. In either case these people are seen as selfish in obstructing those who are busy doing something real with their lives. So the only way we will make ourselves popular with drivers is to stop riding our bikes (except in our own driveways), shut up and conform.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffB502 View Post
    I routinely see motorists breaking traffic laws...snip...There's something about the "gives us all a bad name" argument that doesn't follow...
    +1

    motorists don't hate cyclists because we filter or do the occasional slow-and-go through stop signs.

    they hate us for the same reason they hate road construction, stop lights that could be "synchronized" but aren't (because we all know there's a magical formula out there that would allow all drivers to always have green lights and it's only city hall's stupidity/laziness that makes drivers have to stop), and, most importantly, other drivers -- most of the honks, fingers and road rage, after all, is directed by motorists at motorists.

    the bottom line is this*: motorists hate anything that gets in their way. driving in traffic, around obstacles is a frustrating and unhappy activity that most people are doing under the pressure of a deadline.

    now we, as cyclists, seem to think that we get more than our fair share of abuse from frustrated motorists, and maybe that's true. maybe it's because we're softer targets (or at least perceived as such) or maybe we're regarded as the most egregious obstacles. or maybe we don't get a more-than-average amount of abuse from road rage set. maybe we just notice it more.


    * i realize my "bottom line" is, in fact, second from the bottom. third if the footnote is counted. i plead artistic freedom.
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  16. #16
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    I had a (barely controlled) discussion with an angry motorist once. He had "buzzed" me on a four-lane bridge, and honked at me.

    When I got to the other side, I stopped at a convenience store to get something to eat, and he had stopped there also.

    He told me I wasn't going the speed limit (it's an UPPER limit dummy), and that I was blocking the road (there were share the road signs on the bridge, and sharrows in the right lane).

    When I asked him if he saw the signs, he told me I shouldn't wear spandex in public (It's lycra dummy, and why do you care what I wear).

    I think most drivers think we are breaking the law by riding in the road, and feel the need to do something about it. Ah well, I'm more worried about how to change the attitude than what it is.
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  17. #17
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    They hate our freedom.

    But seriously, the whole scofflaw cyclist argument is BS. Just like the every driver is out to kill you nonsense on the cyclist side of advocacy.
    The simple truth is that in every group of people a certain percentage are a-holes, some of them cycle, some of them drive, some of them troll internet forums. In the end it's just easier to be an a-hole in a car because of the anonymity. People blaming law breaking cyclists for their hatred of all cyclists are just making excuses for their ignorance and general a-holishness. Of course nobody is goiing to come right out and say, "I honked at you because I'm a jerk."
    Last edited by Treespeed; 11-13-08 at 09:08 AM.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  18. #18
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurricane harry View Post
    They are jealous because we are free.
    Yup, that is exactly what it comes down to. They'll make about 110 excuses to cover it up though. A very easy thing to do if you don't wanna face the music.

  19. #19
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szczuldo View Post
    wouldn't motorists give you crap for driving such a huge vehicle and not being able to see around you then hit that pedestrian that you moved out of the way to see?

    I have no idea. I thought that is the thing to have now-a-days. Oh wait, it would eat as much gas as it would take for the owner to pay it of, in a month. Hey that is a good question.......


    What is popular now-a-days????? .....WOW.... I can't really think of anything

  20. #20
    Ride that pony. fourteenbucks's Avatar
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    I don't ride on most streets because I don't trust motorists. They are unsafe, they don't understand the cycling laws, and have a bad opinion of cyclists already. The drunks and poor people that ride bikes here ride on the wrong side of the road and blow through stop signs and lights.
    Schwinn Skyliner - you'd be surprised what I can do with a $200 bike.
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  21. #21
    Everyday I Bring You More
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    I've yet to come across a motorist that hated me or my bicycle.

    Maybe I'm just not as thin skinned as you all apparently are.

  22. #22
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    The whole, "they hate us, because of scofflaw cyclists" notion, is both untrue, and useless information for the law-abiding cyclist, who is not in control of other people's actions.

    1) In our society, disparities in power set up a whole chain of "paying abuse forward" behavior. The boss chides the employee, the employee says something rude to the waiter, the waiter flips off another driver, the driver snips at her husband, the husband says something jerky to the kids... etc. etc.

    2) Since we are impotent to lash out at our "superiors" we are constantly looking for a scapegoat to punish for our misery. Scapegoats are ideally a minority group, with at least a chunk of it's members behaving in socially "unacceptable" ways. Bicyclists fit the needs perfectly. Blame them for your long commute, or for the guilt you feel about not living an environmentally conscious life, or for your high car insurance rates, or for your insecurity over your growing belly-fat.

    3) Once one has chosen a scapegoat, one must then blame the scapegoat for the cruel treatment it receives. This is to alleviate the guilt of being a cruel bully. So one says that the scapegoat is behaving illegally, or has no business on the road, or is asking for it.

    This information is useful to a cyclist. First of all, it helps us to understand our own behavior, and how much of it is really based on this dynamic. We like to rationalize our behavior after the fact, and pretend that we operate logically, but most of our conflict revolves around a dynamic like the above. So we learn how to stop ourselves from doing this.

    The antidote: Treat people with respect. Refuse to play the superior/inferior power games with service people, clients, etc. Instead, connect to people legitimately through listening, non-hostile eye contact, and frank, friendly conversation. Be present and open.

    Of course, some people are really damaged, and you're not going to have the chance to practice this behavior with everyone. So in the meantime, buy a mirror, be vigilant, and take charge of your own behavior.
    I am a mutated sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate and mutate, blah!.

  23. #23
    Head Chief
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurricane harry View Post
    They are jealous because we are free.
    yeah! Not. If they were truly jealous it would be an easy fix. Most people I have run into while out on my bike probably thought I was too poor to drive. They have a superiority complex and must assert their dominance via honking and shouting. Out of all of my friends, only one or two actually understand the idea of using a bike as transportation. Most think that me riding my bike 5+ miles a day is just insane, and that I have completely lost it. I normally ride way more than 5 miles, and that really blows them away. No driver drives by and thinks "Man, I wish I could ride a bike to where I am going"
    “There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

  24. #24
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by frymaster View Post
    they hate us for the same reason they hate road construction, stop lights that could be "synchronized" but aren't (because we all know there's a magical formula out there that would allow all drivers to always have green lights and it's only city hall's stupidity/laziness that makes drivers have to stop)
    Actually, my town does have synchronized lights, but they are synchronized to stop the traffic most of the time. Occasionally they will mistakenly have them set to allow traffic to flow. In the morning, they are synchronized to allow traffic to flow out of town, and in the evening, they allow traffic to flow into town. I have no idea why this is, I think it's some sort of misguided notion of safety. Synchronizing lights doesn't work all the time, but it does work. There are a couple of problematic intersections where multiple lights have to synchronize or the whole town center would come to a halt. They have done a fairly good job with those.

    Since I'm riding my bike to work now, it doesn't bother me often.

  25. #25
    Pat
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    The law breaking idea does not hold water. I was given a ticket a while back for running a stop sign. There was no traffic in view. I had slowed down to about 1 mph and gone through. The police man was nailing people at this stop sign because no one was there. So the next few weeks, out of curiosity, I watched other motorists to see if they came to a complete stop at stop signs. I was wondering if my ommission of coming to a complete stop was out of the ordinary. As it turned out, I watched other motorists in situations where there was no traffic coming and I did not ever see one come to a complete stop over a period lasting several weeks. I think cyclists are just a bit more obvious and besides they ride bicycles which are seen as toys by motorists.

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